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This website uses the term d/Deaf instead of deaf and hard of hearing (DHH) or hearing impaired. This is intentional, indicating someone who has severe to profound hearing loss. It also reflects my belief that anyone with a hearing loss can find a home in the Deaf Community. 

The larger hearing world views hearing loss as something that has to be fixed, and communication using speech as desirable.

Hearing experts' advice on raising d/Deaf children is usually to raise them orally, with spoken and heard language. By pushing biased opinions of language and disability, this advice can miss the larger goal of parenting-- raising happy, healthy children who can easily communicate their wants and needs.

"We went to the doctor who told my parents that I should only learn English, not Spanish, and definitely not ASL."

"Jerry," 39

Many hearing families like yours aren't aware of the importance of accessible, effortless language throughout the day because most of the world can hear. You've probably never considered the realities of a life without sound until your d/Deaf child was born.

 

An effortless language for hearing people is often inaccessible to d/Deaf people. This lack of exposure to language can result in a lack of general knowledge and language deprivation.

Below, Dr. Lori Day explains language deprivation (there is no audio):

d/Deaf children often internalize shame related to their auditory difference, especially when their hearing families do not try to learn sign language or encourage them to
embrace their d/Deaf identity.

"When I was younger, I viewed people who used ASL

as disabled."

"Anita," 40

By only following medical and educational advice towards raising your d/Deaf child, and focusing on oral language, you may be inadvertently depriving them of any language.

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